In his book A Grief Observed, C. S. Lewis said, “Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask—half our great theological and metaphysical problems—are like that.”
We might ask another unanswerable question: How far is the east from the west? The answer, of course, is that the distance is so far that we, in our human limitation, can’t imagine it. The psalmist is giving thanks for the unimaginable vastness of God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness.
Our God has the power of forgiveness. He heals us (v. 3). He redeems us, paying our debt and rescuing us from death (v. 4), and He satisfies our desires, crowning us with love (v. 5).
The psalmist remembers God’s actions concerning Moses and the nation of Israel. God was patient with them, loved them, saved them, and forgave them. We can be assured that He will also forgive us. We are His children, and God loves us like a heavenly Father (v. 13).
The psalmist contrasts the temporary nature of humankind with the eternal nature of God. While our lives are like grass that withers and dies, God’s love lasts from “everlasting to everlasting” (v. 17). This should align our hearts with the God who can remove our transgressions from us, taking them as far as the east is from the west. Human measurements fail to accurately describe how God alone can so completely remove our transgressions. The God who created us and loved us has the capacity and intention to forgive us.
Sometimes it may feel like your sins will follow you forever and will never truly be forgiven. Today’s passage offers that assurance. When you ask for God’s forgiveness, He will grant it. Picture your sin, tied into a package, and being taken as far as the east is from the west. It is too far to return. God has perfectly and forever forgiven you.